Author Topic: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?  (Read 3144 times)  

Online Simon Haynes

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Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2020, 06:10:50 pm »
I looked and it does seem that way now you mention it. Why do you think that is?

Don't know whether it's still the case, but each site used to show the star ratings with what it meant alongside. Amazon suggested a 4 or 5 was appropriate for a book you enjoyed, goodreads a 3 or a 4, with 5 reserved for those amazing once-in-a-lifetime reads.

 

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    Online jm2019

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #26 on: November 18, 2020, 07:05:57 pm »
    Thank you all!

    @Carol - I feel the same! I've been in this only two years, and I'm at a point where I no longer feel like reading good or bad reviews. I recognize their importance... somewhat, but no matter how much I try, it's hard not to feel something.

    I would check my goodreads page more than once a da.  Each time the total review count increased, I would go and look for the specific new review/rating. In fact, I knew the averages so well that without even checking the specific review I could make out if the new one had a higher or lower rating than average. Unhealthy :) so I've now stopped doing it.

    Even sales figures are such a mystery - a new book has just 2 reviews, one 5* and the other 2* I think, On Amazon, so it shows like a lousy less than 3 on the ratings, and yet I'm getting solid buys and KDP reads... so who knows? Perhaps the credibility I built through my older books is helping until this one builds.

    But it's good to see all the responses... if nothing else, it's like I'm on a boat with all of you.


    After ten years, I should say I no longer care about reviews. But the honest truth is that I stopped reading them years ago, because the harsh ones made me ridiculously defensive and even the glowing ones paralyzed me with a fear of disappointing fans next time. I forced myself to read maybe the first 2,000 or so, thinking I might learn something from them. What I ultimately learned was a lesson about myself - that I handle criticism well outwardly but, inwardly, it sticks in my head longer than it should.

    Online Decon

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #27 on: November 18, 2020, 08:11:17 pm »
    Back in the early days as in from 2011 and new to Self-publishing they stung, not because of the poor reviews, but my own shortcomings, and  to be honest they were fair. Fortunately many readers overlooked my shortcomings and gave excellent reviews and I had a chance to put right what was wrong and overlooked by others who simply enjoyed the story

    Fast forward to more recently and they have been few and the ones I've had have hurt, but I now have a thick skin and ignore them. I don't look at reviews anymore, only if I drop below 4 stars overall to see where I've missed the mark.

    Here are two examples but maybe not the exact wording.

    One was a review which mentioned it was a review of an audio book, but I don't have one. I know which story it was meant for as the title was almost identical to mine and it had an audio version.

    On another it was a 1 star after a free promo in the UK for a new release. It said something like. I didn't read it. Never sold any in the UK since, but it sold well in the US.

    On the whole, unless all your  reviews are low stars, poor reviews are nothing to worry about. You can't please everyone as they all have different expectations.
    « Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 08:25:26 pm by Decon »


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    Offline BuckarooBanzai

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #28 on: November 19, 2020, 03:00:33 am »
    I had a lovely one star review that simply read 'I Did Not Read This Book'. It torpedoed my rating on Amazon Canada. It's funny, but if Amazon sense that you received a decent review from someone in the same county as you, they're on it like a dog on a newly installed lamp-post. Yet when there is a review that is as blatant as the aforementioned, they cannot find it. I've become a tv murder movie heroine who sees a murder, but then the authorities say there isn't a body and I must be imagining it. Only in this allegory I have draped the blood-soaked corpse on their main reception carpet and done a three hour set of amateur Mongolian throat singing to bring their attention to it.

    Online NikOK

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #29 on: November 19, 2020, 05:25:11 am »
    Actually she did not respond back because I think she was embarrassed. She was a very young reviewer and, ya know, I kind of felt sorry for her for the misinterpretation. But I'm sure now that she'll know what that phrase means in the context that I meant it.

    I guess at least it wasn't malicious.  It's just a shame because that's the kind of negative review that could actually make people not want to read, and it was all just a misunderstanding.  I wonder sometimes if reviewers really know how their reviews can impact a book.  It might feel like you are just reviewing another thing you bought on amazon, but people will actually read those reviews.  If I give a scathing review to a hammer I bought on amazon, it probably won't stop a single person from buying.  But readers definitely look before they buy.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #30 on: November 19, 2020, 08:41:40 am »
    I guess at least it wasn't malicious.  It's just a shame because that's the kind of negative review that could actually make people not want to read, and it was all just a misunderstanding.  I wonder sometimes if reviewers really know how their reviews can impact a book.  It might feel like you are just reviewing another thing you bought on amazon, but people will actually read those reviews.  If I give a scathing review to a hammer I bought on amazon, it probably won't stop a single person from buying.  But readers definitely look before they buy.

    I don't know if she knew how dangerous her implications were about that section of the book she flagged. Something like that can be a career breaker if it goes viral. Such things have happened. Especially with very hot and sensitive topics. I did research her beforehand, reading her guidelines, her bio and mission statement. She was well received as a reviewer and had hundreds of reviews in her inventory. It was just one of those one-off statements that stopped me dead in my tracks. It made me very uncomfortable. I'm sure we've all had those feelings of being hurt and misunderstood. I don't take reviews so seriously now. I'll revel in the really good ones, but chalk up the bad ones to normal happenstance. 
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    Offline torridcooke

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #31 on: November 19, 2020, 01:29:56 pm »
    At first, every review was soooo important. I do freebie followed by paid in series. I warn readers that the book is 'happy for now' but there is more to come. In spite of this, most of my negative reviews are complaints about the cliffhanger. Those don't bother me. It's the reviews that actually critique my writing that I kind of get a gut punch from. However, here's what I did. I have a favorite author--not in my genre--and I looked at his one-stars. It was an eye-opener. This amazingly talented writer (Pat Conroy, if you're curious) is regularly called out for "purple prose". Lord grant me the purple.

    Offline CatherineM

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #32 on: November 19, 2020, 02:12:44 pm »
    There is a difference between a rating and a review but I don't really think that is made clear to those who are shopping.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #33 on: November 19, 2020, 03:29:29 pm »
    I've been publishing for about eight years. For context, I have many thousands of reviews. Probably 8,000? 10,000? Something like that. My review average on my early books tends to be more 4.3-4.5 (I have one book, my second, with a 4.2 average). On the more recent books, 4.7-4.9. Partly because I have a smaller percentage of readers picking me up for the first time, and partly because I'm simply a much better writer. (My first book was my first fiction.)

    The bad reviews really stung for the first few years, maybe partly, in hindsight, because they were often warranted or understandable in some way. Now, not nearly so much. I don't check nearly as much, either. That change happened organically. I still read all the reviews on any new release. I write lots of different things with different tones, and I want to know what resonated and what didn't. I've learned to recognize an outlier opinion. I don't check reviews on past books anymore.

    Reading my reviews made me a better writer, in better tune with my audience. I disagree with the common advice not to. If it helps you--go right ahead. Let the bad stuff sting. Let the good stuff give you a glow. Writing is communication, and hey, don't we want to know when it's worked and when it hasn't? That's how we learn and grow. On the other hand, if reading them freezes you either out of fear of disappointing people who love your stuff, or out of despair that people hated what you wrote, don't read them. Either way is OK! No right answers.

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #34 on: November 19, 2020, 05:28:57 pm »
    I wrote a trilogy of 3 x 70k novels with plots and subplots that ran right the way through, and that series is the one with my lowest average reviews. (3.8/5).

    The omnibus edition of the three books has a handful of reviews and ratings, but they're all 5 star.

    So, I learned my lesson from that one. I considered unpublishing the individual novels, but recently I stuck the first chapter of each subsequent book into the end of the previous one, so at least they can see the story continues. Plus I got a worldwide bookbub on book 1 of the trilogy last year, so it can't be that bad.

     

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    Offline H.C.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #35 on: November 22, 2020, 06:03:23 am »
    If the review provides me with some sort of fair and actionable feedback, I have no issue with it at all.

    That sounds very strange as reviews are not writing feedback for the authors...not in any way. Reviews are to tell other READERS what they thought of the book.

    What do you mean by actionable? You want your reviewers to tell you where you made mistakes like an editor would?  :o

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #36 on: November 22, 2020, 08:41:51 am »
    That sounds very strange as reviews are not writing feedback for the authors...not in any way. Reviews are to tell other READERS what they thought of the book.

    What do you mean by actionable? You want your reviewers to tell you where you made mistakes like an editor would?  :o
    You did not ask me, but I will answer as I made the same point above.

    What an editor is doing is simply anticipating how a reader will react. (I am speaking of a developmental editor here, as that is the type of feedback one gets from reviews.) A dev editor is not magic. She is simply a trained reader who knows genre and writing norms, who notices where a story lags, where a characterization is inconsistent. But she is just one person. If I, for example, get a number of reviews saying they found my heroine immature or my hero overbearing, I take that on board. Next time, I may include more of hero or heroines thoughts or past to explain their actions. Will I convince every reader? Not necessarily. Outlier opinions happen, but an author can become aware of the ways in which she typically falls short with her readers, and also the things most readers respond to positively.

    For example, sex in a romance novel. Readers have different prejudices, including readers who otherwise love and respond to a particular authors work. I know what my readers enjoy in a steamy scene because I have read my reviews. That does not mean I do not change things up, but I have a framework.

    Works for me. Probably six of eight of my latest books have a 4.8 or 4.9 average on hundreds of reviews apiece, although they vary a great deal in tone and I took (and take) lots of chances. But I have noted what some people did not like in the one with a 4.7 average. Part of jt is unavoidable if I write the kind of book I enjoy writing, but part of it I could have done better.

    Every book is a learning experience, and I have written something like 32 long books. But I can only learn if I listen to my readers. Writing is communication, and I cannot learn in a vacuum.

     
    « Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 08:44:17 am by Usedtoposthere »

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #37 on: November 22, 2020, 09:35:34 am »
    I also admit to following reviewer's comments, both posted and in person. If I find something consistently mentioned that might cause confusion or derail the story arc, I'm up to a change if I can make it. The idea is to improve, abeit, due to popular opinion. But if it is something I totally glossed over or got wrong (a real forehead slapper) I'm apt to do a revision of some type so I don't get a repeat and see my rank slither downward into the 3s. Sometimes I see a really competent reviewer as a late-stage Beta reader at time. Sometimes. I do have my betas, but they and I can miss something.
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    Offline RockWhitehouse

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #38 on: November 23, 2020, 06:11:18 am »
    First review of first book, less than a week after publication:

    As this is the one of the first reviews, I will not immediately kill the book by giving it a one star but its deserving of one. It's clearly written by a first time writer, with no editor. Which is ok, If the writer was an English major. (Nope) In the pros and cons of the writing you may come across a spoiler that gets my point across.

    Read using Kindle unlimited. Disclaimer * I only made it to page 40 ish.


    Then this...

    Tip to writer - a marginal majority of readers prefer writing from a single point of view from one character. However, If you are going to 'head jump' at least only do it between scenes and not in the middle of paragraphs.

    A statement which also means a substantial minority of readers DON"T prefer that. And there were no changes of character focus mid-paragraph. I know because I spent a couple of days scouring the first 40 pages looking for them.

    That one kept me up a few nights. I had never planned to be the Mr. Tanner of novelists.  There were a few nuggets of value buried in the snark, which I did apply to later updates, but it was mostly a hit job on the new kid.

    Current review score: 4.5/5.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #39 on: November 23, 2020, 08:05:15 am »
    I am a marshmallow--soft and easily flattened. Every bad review bothers me. I let myself have a mini pity party and then move on. Like this morning when I saw the most "helpful" review is this buster who stated that there were no dragons in my first book until the very end and it's just one long angst-filled romance story instead. Which...*slams head against desk repeatedly* And people voted that one as the MOST USEFUL REVIEW. Christ. It's completely inaccurate information. Dragon's first appearance is in freaking chapter four and the book blurb explicitly talks about the fact that the plot is centered around stealing the dragon back from the yakuza! So yeah, dragon's off-screen while the main leads try to steal it back from the bad guys, you giant jerk. I also PURPOSELY wrote the first two chapters to be centered on the relationships of the main leads to weed out this exact kind of jerk--someone who is going into this just for the dragons and nothing else. Anyone who doesn't like character-centric writing should be out by the second chapter, but this guy decided to stick around to whine about it instead of simply closing the book and moving on. Sigh. There's far more positive reviews than negative and I remind myself of that every time my self pity crops up when I see the bad reviews. I try not to read them, but I have self destructive tendencies so... *gestures to above comments* It just takes learned maturity to ignore the negativity. Most of the time, people who routinely give 1 or 2 star reviews are looking for things to dump on because they're just unpleasant and they feel superior dumping on someone else's work. I hate it, but it's a part of the career. There is no escaping it, so I just make sure to remember that the percentage of folks who like my work is far higher.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #40 on: November 23, 2020, 08:11:16 am »
    I had a lovely one star review that simply read 'I Did Not Read This Book'. It torpedoed my rating on Amazon Canada. It's funny, but if Amazon sense that you received a decent review from someone in the same county as you, they're on it like a dog on a newly installed lamp-post. Yet when there is a review that is as blatant as the aforementioned, they cannot find it. I've become a tv murder movie heroine who sees a murder, but then the authorities say there isn't a body and I must be imagining it. Only in this allegory I have draped the blood-soaked corpse on their main reception carpet and done a three hour set of amateur Mongolian throat singing to bring their attention to it.

    This is the most irritating thing in the world. Amazon is eager to delete organic positive reviews, but you can get one stars where the person openly admits to not reading the book but Amazon will not remove it. It's like Facebook--if a Nazi threatens to kill you and you reply, Facebook will ban YOU and not the person who just threatened you, and will then say the death threat is covered by their policies but your reply is not. No logic involved, only ignorance.

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    Offline Corvid

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #41 on: November 23, 2020, 08:22:49 am »
    The actual content of reviews are completely meaningless, and therefore are not worthy of your attention. People are so addled and scattered the majority of the time they don't even know what they like, even when they strongly articulate that they do, or why they 'like' what they claim to like, etc.

    Readers will say they 'hate' this, they 'hate' that, "I loved" this, "I didn't like" that, but none of it is reliable information for an author because people often - heck, most of the time - say one thing while actually thinking something different.

    People spout off opinions all the time that they don't actually hold. Why? Because humans are strange. This is why in marketing you have to pay attention to what people do, and not what they say - because what they say is more often than not contradictory, insincere, and hypocritical. Book reviews are pretty much Exhibit A for this.

    "I hate cliffhangers, and I won't be buying anything more from this author because of the cliffhanger at the end of this book. Disgusting."
    *proceeds to buy the next book in the series*

    "ONE STAR - Ugh, I can't stand it when: [enter whatever gripe they have, to do with: characterization, motivations, prose, profanity, showing vs telling, lack of action, too much action, lack of sex, too much sex, etc etc]"
    *then goes on to Five-Star a book that commits the exact same 'sins'*

    And, don't even get me started on reviews that work aspects of a book that are out of the authors control into a review where they're also discussing plotting, characters, etc.

    I get that reviews in terms of their general presence, and that we can see how many there are, are coveted for marketing reasons. I can see why or how that form of social proof holds value to an author looking to increase sales. But, the actual content of the reviews themselves? Worthless.

    That's why as an author, you're best off listening to a group of people who know you or your work to some extent, or whom you trust in some capacity when it comes to making editorial decisions. And, even then, the best person to listen to is yourself. You're the artist, and more often than not, you know best. What's the worst that can happen listening to yourself over the general rabble when it comes to editorial decisions for your book(s)? You lose a tiny percentage point off your Goodreads score? Meh - everyone and their dog has an average above 3.5 on that site. The ones that don't are the outliers.


    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #42 on: November 23, 2020, 08:51:18 am »
    What frustrates me are the 1 stars from those who read 20-30 pages and then move on. 99% of the time it is because it is not their "genre" or they were confused...like maybe if they read more things would be clearer.

    The worse are reviews from other authors (this is mostly on Goodreads)...I have read some which sound more them promoting themselves OR being really preachy. A lot of times, it is a case where they seemed to think it is their book if you know what I mean.

    I have reviewed about a handful of books on Goodreads and then stopped...as an author, I had a hard time being overly critical knowing what the process is.

    Mark

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #43 on: November 23, 2020, 09:09:13 am »
    I think we've all had our amusing list of reviews, but when I get the odd 1 or 2* with no comments, I have nothing to learn even. I'm kind of partially [email protected] Corvid -- I don't find much that I can immediately action in most reviews, and people are generally kind. I once had a review with a 1* saying my very clearly battle/violence/war book had... war violence. Another one gave a long review, rated it 3*, but said they're really looking forward to the next. The good thing is most readers seem to just ignore such comments, as my sales patterns have never budged with reviews. My own philosophy is unless I really hate a book, I will either not rate it, or I'm almost always favorable.

    The best review I had was someone who gave me a 5* and the comments were how they learned a lot about agriculture... my book had absolutely nothing at all on the subject!

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #44 on: November 23, 2020, 10:54:10 am »
    The worse are reviews from other authors (this is mostly on Goodreads)...

    I noticed a lot of 1* on books I loved citing that the author needs to work on their craft. I wasn't sure if it was other authors or just people biased against self publishers. Either way, the only people I've ever heard use that word are grad students and fellow writers.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #45 on: November 23, 2020, 11:25:46 am »
    I had a hard time being overly critical knowing what the process is.

    Mark

    Yep, I've definitely experienced this.  Writing has really helped me see what I'm reading as a whole.  I would have thought that editing would have made more more nit-picky when reading other people's works, but now I see typos and things and just think it's kind of adorable.  Like, aww, other people do this too.  And when I see a plot that doesn't really make sense to me, it's easier to see it through now.  I guess after a lot of time editing it has made me not expect perfection.  But yeah, not everyone on goodreads would agree with me  ;D

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #46 on: November 23, 2020, 02:23:55 pm »
    I think we've all had our amusing list of reviews, but when I get the odd 1 or 2* with no comments, I have nothing to learn even. I'm kind of partially [email protected] Corvid -- I don't find much that I can immediately action in most reviews, and people are generally kind. I once had a review with a 1* saying my very clearly battle/violence/war book had... war violence. Another one gave a long review, rated it 3*, but said they're really looking forward to the next. The good thing is most readers seem to just ignore such comments, as my sales patterns have never budged with reviews. My own philosophy is unless I really hate a book, I will either not rate it, or I'm almost always favorable.

    The best review I had was someone who gave me a 5* and the comments were how they learned a lot about agriculture... my book had absolutely nothing at all on the subject!

    ^ if I dislike a book, I just put it down and find something else. The book has to literally offend me in order for me to ever post a negative review, and I don't offend easily. The book has to feature something incredibly problematic that is portrayed in a positive manner/glossed over/downplayed or just be riddled with literal spelling/grammar errors for me to feel motivated enough to post a negative review. It's a hard job we have, so I'd much rather say nothing about a book I didn't like unless it commits one of those two sins.

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    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #47 on: November 23, 2020, 02:39:42 pm »
    I am a marshmallow--soft and easily flattened. Every bad review bothers me. I let myself have a mini pity party and then move on. Like this morning when I saw the most "helpful" review is this buster who stated that there were no dragons in my first book until the very end and it's just one long angst-filled romance story instead. Which...*slams head against desk repeatedly* And people voted that one as the MOST USEFUL REVIEW.


    Oh yes - I have a 2-star review on my biggest-selling novel where the title is something like 'too slapstick' ... and 27 people have rated the review up, which means it's the first thing people see on the product page.

    The book is MEANT to be slapstick, although it's not to the exclusion of, you know, a plot. It's a comedy where the character continually makes things worse for himself, piling on the trouble. I get that some people don't like that style of humour, but to leave a negative review because the book lives up to its promise is a bit rich.

    On the plus side, if people who don't like slapstick comedies spot that review and pass on the book, I've probably saved myself more 1- and 2- stars.
     

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    Offline AaronFrale

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #48 on: November 23, 2020, 03:34:58 pm »
    I generally use 1-star reviews for marketing research. If a 1 or 2 star comes in and I can get a sense of what they like instead of my book, I may avoid advertising along those books if it makes sense to do so.

    I've also had given a person who gave my book a 2-star review more free copies of other books to review. The review was well done, all fair points, and this particular reviewer, three stars were glowing. So I wanted to see what else they had to say because sometimes bad reviews are a learning experience.

    Other times, they are not helpful and I don't let it bother me. For me as a humor writer, people have different tastes. I personally think Mel Brooks is god's gift to the people, but other's maybe lukewarm to his movies. Tastes is a huge factor that goes into reviews and the average is what counts more in the long run.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #49 on: November 23, 2020, 04:20:33 pm »
    The actual content of reviews are completely meaningless, and therefore are not worthy of your attention. People are so addled and scattered the majority of the time they don't even know what they like, even when they strongly articulate that they do, or why they 'like' what they claim to like, etc.

    Readers will say they 'hate' this, they 'hate' that, "I loved" this, "I didn't like" that, but none of it is reliable information for an author because people often - heck, most of the time - say one thing while actually thinking something different.

    People spout off opinions all the time that they don't actually hold. Why? Because humans are strange. This is why in marketing you have to pay attention to what people do, and not what they say - because what they say is more often than not contradictory, insincere, and hypocritical. Book reviews are pretty much Exhibit A for this.

    "I hate cliffhangers, and I won't be buying anything more from this author because of the cliffhanger at the end of this book. Disgusting."
    *proceeds to buy the next book in the series*

    "ONE STAR - Ugh, I can't stand it when: [enter whatever gripe they have, to do with: characterization, motivations, prose, profanity, showing vs telling, lack of action, too much action, lack of sex, too much sex, etc etc]"
    *then goes on to Five-Star a book that commits the exact same 'sins'*

    And, don't even get me started on reviews that work aspects of a book that are out of the authors control into a review where they're also discussing plotting, characters, etc.

    I get that reviews in terms of their general presence, and that we can see how many there are, are coveted for marketing reasons. I can see why or how that form of social proof holds value to an author looking to increase sales. But, the actual content of the reviews themselves? Worthless.

    That's why as an author, you're best off listening to a group of people who know you or your work to some extent, or whom you trust in some capacity when it comes to making editorial decisions. And, even then, the best person to listen to is yourself. You're the artist, and more often than not, you know best. What's the worst that can happen listening to yourself over the general rabble when it comes to editorial decisions for your book(s)? You lose a tiny percentage point off your Goodreads score? Meh - everyone and their dog has an average above 3.5 on that site. The ones that don't are the outliers.
    You don't seem to have a very high opinion of your audience ...

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